Program on Spiritual Peacebuilding


The mission of the Program on Spiritual Peacebuilding is to support peacebuilding with a strong spiritual orientation to reach beyond adversarial systems of human conflict, especially across denominational, religious, ideological and racial divides; and to seek and build common ethical and spiritual values that bind citizens together in peaceful and just causes and ways of coexistence. This program will have its initial focus on the American community.

Practice Within Communities and Across the Nation

Through a combination of field practice, direct intervention in communities, academic study, internships with people in need, and public education, PSP aims to encourage more and more people to become spiritual leaders in peacebuilding. This is an alliance of the art and science of peacebuilding and conflict resolution with an interpretive engagement with each person’s and community’s most cherished spiritual, ethical and religious traditions. A key focus will be helping religious communities live with disagreement while maintaining their commitment to beloved community across many divides. This will be focused on communities and cities.

Practice Among the Poor

Pastorship for marginalized communities on all sides of racial, religious, ethnic and ideological divides will become a key factor in domestic American and global models of healing and transformation of divisive relationships. CRDC’s prior 20 years of experience with peacebuilding in religious contexts will provide precedents for elicitive and transformative practices of intervention, including the central importance of compassionate care, shared reasoning, mental healthcare, and the pursuit of shared ethics. Senior Fellows affiliated with this program will play key roles in pioneering this work across many regions.

Meet the Team


Dr. Tory Baucum                                 Bishop Shannon Johnston

Dr. Tory Baucum is a Senior Fellow at CRDC, a current Research Professor at the Carter School, and recently appointed founding Director of the Benedictine Family Life Center in Atchison, Kansas. A native of Kansas, Dr. Baucum is past Associate Professor (1999-2007) of Asbury Theological Seminary; one of the Six Preachers at Canterbury Cathedral, appointed from 2014-2019 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby; and author of Constructing Faith Cultures (2005) and Evangelical Hospitality (2008). Tory’s mission for peacemaking received national attention and has been singled out for praise by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Baucum is engaged in pioneering work in Kansas, where he is focused on the ways in which spiritual peacebuilding can be of particular help to struggling poor families and the many challenges they face. His work brings him to one of the poorest counties in the United States in Atchison, Kansas, with a base also in Kansas City.

The Right Reverend Shannon Johnston, a native of Alabama and Tennessee, is a Senior Fellow at CRDC and was the 13th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Bishop Shannon has served in Selma, Alabama; Sumner, Mississippi; and Tupelo, Mississippi; he also developed a prison ministry at Parchman State Penitentiary. His outreach work and his peace work have received national attention for decades. Bishop Shannon has received honorary degrees from the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and the Virginia Theological Seminary, with a Masters of Divinity from Cambridge University.

Bishop Shannon became known by his motto, “Agreement is overrated. Learn to disagree well.” He has balanced advocacy of ethical principles as they regard the ethical life of individuals and the nation, but he has intentionally brought this into focus with the reality of conflict that leaves people on opposite sides of many issues. Learning to disagree well is what is known in the peacebuilding field as “constructive conflict” and constructive conflict resolution. CRDC envisions this work as critical at the present time in terms of healing this nation from its deep divides.

PSP is a project of CRDC’s American Reconciliation program.